Hello everyone, and welcome!
Although I had few books during my childhood, I loved to read. However, I never thought of being a writer when I grew up.
I took up teaching and loved it.
However, reading to my classes and to my two daughters, made me want to write stories and poems of my own. I’ve been doing ever since.
I became a fulltime writer in 1990 and now have over 100 books published. They range from picture books, short fiction, novels, poetry and non-fiction. Many have won awards and been translated and distributed worldwide. Over 200 poems and stories have been published in children’s magazines and have appeared in over a dozen anthologies.
I belong to many writers’ groups: (ASA) The Australian Society of Authors, (SCBWI) Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Writers SA, and Ekidnas (South Australian Children’s Writers and Illustrators). For ten years I was an Ambassador for the Premier’s Reading Challenge and a Role Model for Books in Homes. Now I’m an Ambassador for Raising Literacy Australia (The Little Big Book Club)
In 2012 I won The Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature Carclew Fellowship and in 2009 I was awarded a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Creative Fellowship.
I love to write, but it can be hard fun!
Ideas for stories and poems have come from something I’ve experienced, either as an adult or as a child, from other members of my family or friends, or something I’ve noticed or heard about. I play with ideas on paper until I begin to see a bigger idea start to form and I continue to keep asking questions about those ideas or thoughts. Sometimes publishers will suggest a theme or an idea to me to write about. For example, if the theme deals with ‘creepy crawlies’ I might write a funny poem about a worm or a story about the day a boy’s pet worm escaped at a birthday sleepover.
For many years I mainly wrote picture books, short stories, poems, plays and articles, but nowadays my work will include longer pieces, such as the award-winning, information book ‘Hoosh! Camels in Australia’ which too an intense twelve months to research and write. My novels take years and involve many, many rewrites. However, most writers, like me, will me writing several things at the same time.
It usually starts with lots of doodling and brainstorming on paper. It’s as if my brain seems to want to see ideas before it gets ready to work on them. I even do little drawings. But mostly I just relax and let my pen write any idea that comes.
After that, I start brainstorming about ideas that seem to connect themselves together or I might remember an incident that happened that I could use as well. I like cooking soup, and writing is a bit like that to start with – putting all sorts of things (ideas) into the pot. But sometimes, like cooking, you put too much of one thing and not enough of another! Then you have to sort out how best to change it.
I like to have a sense of where the story is likely to go and where it may end. I usually rewrite the beginning dozens of times and sometimes I have to wait, until the exact, suitable ending comes to me. I find writing very hard at times, other times it’s like skating with the wind in your hair.
Fiction, because when the writing is going well, it gives me a happiness, or a joy that’s rich and exciting. It’s the emotion of creativity, I suppose. I enjoy writing non-fiction or information for different reasons. I like finding out about things that interest me and I think it helps my fiction because the writing has to be clear, simple and informative. Writing poetry is great fun – but it’s not always easy. I love playing with words. I say them out loud, over and over to make the rhythm or rhyme smooth. Then I leave it alone for as long as I can – and then when I return to it, I find I can make it even better! It’s a great reward.
Being a writer is what I want to do, and what I love doing, because I can create. And I can work from home. But there are sad and tough times. Things often don’t work out as well as you’d hoped, or work is sent back to you. But I like to learn and practice and improvement is exciting. There’s no other job I’d rather do.
• 11 scripts for pre-school television program, Here’s Humphrey.
• 3 play-scripts for children’s theatre company, Patch Theatre.
• A self-published biography of teachers, Winifred and Dorothy Fleming and their school: The Flemings of Hopetoun. 1989
• Over 200 poems, stories, plays and articles published in national and international children’s magazines including The School Magazine, the Victorian Education Department Magazines, Contagious, Lucky, Ladybird, Spider.
Janeen was born in the seaside town of Brighton, South Australia, on March 13, 1948.
She now lives in seaside Glenelg, close to Brighton.
She studied Primary Teaching at Wattle Park Teachers’ College.
Janeen is married to Jon and has two daughters, Natalie and Cassie, and four grandchildren.
Janeen likes: colour, trees, birds, laughing, gardens, salty sea air, creating, food of all sorts, hugs and cups of tea.
Janeen dislikes: greedy, mean people, rats, being late.
The Secret Seven and The Famous Five by Enid Blyton
The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack
I grew up by the beach at Brighton in South Australia and attended both Brighton Primary and High School, before starting Teachers’ College, aged 16.
I was the middle child with an older brother and a younger sister.
I liked Primary school, enjoyed sport, craft and singing, but we had few books and did little reading or writing.
At High School I did well in languages like Latin, French and English, but I slogged at Maths, Physics and Chemistry.
Over the years I’ve been a teacher, an actor with a touring children’s theatre company, and also performed hundreds of television and radio commercials.
I love to travel and have been to many places in the world. Apart from reading and writing, I also love creating mosaics from recycled crockery and tiles, singing, gardening, and watching films or theatre. To keep fit I do Yoga, Aqua-aerobics, swim and walk.
I still live at the beach, at Glenelg, with my husband, our border-collie dog, Raffy, and two chickens. Our grown-up daughters have families of their own.
Janeen Brian is an award-winning, children’s author and poet with over 100 books published in both trade and educational publishing. She enjoys writing picture books, junior fiction, poetry, novels and non-fiction.
Many of her books have been translated and distributed worldwide while more than 200 stories, poems, plays and articles have been published in children’s magazines or anthologies.
Janeen was the recipient of the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Literature Carclew Fellowship and in 2009 also received a May Gibbs’ Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship.
Janeen is an Ambassador for Raising Literacy Australia (The Little Big Book Club.)
She loves reading, creating mosaics, aqua-aerobics, Yoga, walking, gardening, travelling, craft work, singing, watching theatre and films and spending time with her family and friends.
She lives in the seaside city of Glenelg, in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has two daughters and four grandchildren.